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Carlia tutela ZUG, 2004

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymCarlia tutela ZUG 2004
Carlia tutela — GLÄSSER-TROBISCH & TROBISCH 2021 
DistributionIndonesia (Halmahera, Ternate, Morotai, and adjacent islands)

Type locality: Indonesia, Molucca Islands, Halmahera, Jailolo District, Kampung Pasir Putih [0° 53’ N, 130° 53’ E]  
TypesHolotype: USNM 237403 
DiagnosisDescription. A moderate-sized Carlia ranging in adult size from 43 to 54 mm SVL (females 42.9–49.3; males 41.0–53.7) with HeadL 21–26%, TrunkL 39–51%, and HndlL 41–54% of SVL, and 75–220% PalpbD of EarD. Populations sexually dimorphic in HeadL, PalpbD, EarD, TrunkL, HndlL, HeadL/SVL, TrunkL/SVL, TrunkL/HndlL, and AuricN. Head and nuchal scales smooth; interparietal rarely absent; 4 Supoc, 8–9 Supcil, 8–12 Eyeld, 7 (rarely 6) Suplab, 5th BlwEye, and 6 (rarely 7) Inflab on each side. Ear opening oblong vertical to oblique with 2–5 AuricN, usually pointed, on anterior and dorsal margin. Trunk scales smooth to weakly tricarinate dorsally and laterally: 44–51 Dorsal, 30–37 Midbody. Subdigital lamellae undivided, smooth: 18–24 3FingL, 23–32 4ToeL.
Juvenile dorsum uniform brown or with light black flecking, distinct dorsoand midlateral white stripes at least to anterior trunk enclosing darker brown lateral band from eye to inguen; venter cream to ivory. Adults largely monomorphic, smaller (younger) females retaining faded lateral light striping; males and larger females mainly brown dorsally and laterally, uniform or some black flecking; venter cream to ivory (Zug 2004: 63).

Comparison to related species. Carlia tutela populations differ from those of the larger bodied C. beccarii, C. eothen and C. luctuosa, and the moderate sized C. aenigma, C. aramia, C. fusca, C. mysi and C. pulla, by adult females averaging 46 to 47 mm SVL; females and males are on the average equal-sized. C. tutela populations share: an average of 32 Midbody with all other fusca complex species except C. luctuosa; an average of 20 to 22 3FingL with all except C. beccarii; and an average of 27 to 30 4ToeL with all except C. beccarii, C. longipes, and C. luctuosa. C. tutela either has well-developed dorsolateral and midlateral light stripes, shared with C. leucotaenia, or dorsolateral stripe from eye to axilla and midlateral stripe from eye to midtrunk, shared with some individuals of C. fusca, C. longipes and some C. mysi. Adult C. tutela females retain faded stripes anteriorly or become unicolor, sharing this first coloration with some individuals of C. fusca, C. longipes and C. mysi, and the second coloration with C. ailanpalai and some C. fusca and C. mysi. Adult C. tutela have light chins, throats, and venters, differing from the dark underside of C. aenigma, C. luctuosa, and some populations of C. aramia and C. eothen (Zug 2004: 64). 
CommentCarla tutela is endemic to Halmahera and was once thought to have been introduced to Guam but those populations are genetically similar to Carla ailanpa- lai which is endemic to the Admiralty Archipelago and may have been introduced to Guam during WWII (Austin et al. 2011). 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin “tutela”, meaning defense or guard and was proposed to honor the men and women who served in the defense of New Guinea and the Moluccas during WWII. 
  • Dolman, Gaynor & Andrew F. Hugall 2008. Combined mitochondrial and nuclear data enhance resolution of a rapid radiation of Australian rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (3): 782-794 - get paper here
  • Glässer-Trobisch, Andrea & Dietmar Trobisch 2021. Begegnungen mit Hydrosaurus & Co. in der Wallacea. Teil 3: Drachen im Vogelparadies – Halmahera. Sauria 43 (3): 23-46
  • Zug,G. R. 2004. Systematics of the Carlia “fusca” lizards (Squamata: Scincidae) of New Guinea and Nearby Islands. Bishop Mus. Bull. Zool. 5: 1-83
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